Social media has given businesses the once-unimaginable ability to speak directly to their customer base and target audience. This opens the door to many incredible opportunities, but at the same time, it can open a Pandora’s Box of mistakes that will hurt their reputations and bottom lines if careful practices are not put in place. Here is a guide that will help you see positive ways to use your social accounts and their flip-sides which should be avoided at all cost.
Do: Engage with Video Content
Direct targeting is one of the revolutionary by-products of social media advertising and organic marketing. From boosted Facebook posts to Google cloud functions, the ability to move through the sales funnel and inspire buying action has never been more immediate. Of course, consumers can easily recognize advertising, and they generally don’t like it, which has spurred the rise of content marketing. Content marketing, simply put, is still advertising, but if provides a benefit to the viewer. This can come in the form of useful information like step-by-step instructions for DIY projects, or from heartwarming stories about good people doing good things. This type of content builds awareness and affection for your brand. Video always rises to the top of social media algorithms, so posting and sharing relevant video content will expose you to a broad audience, with or without ad dollars behind it.
Don’t: Steal Content
“Steal” may seem like a harsh word, but in a legal sense, if you’re posting images, videos, or phrases that you don’t own or have permission to use, that’s what you’re doing. Now, that’s not to say you can’t share social media posts from counterparts or even competitors. There are distinct advantages to doing this. But in that scenario, the original post should be credited or referenced, which is often done automatically by the platform. Trouble emerges when people misrepresent the work of others as their own. This is a violation of copyright laws and intellectual property, and that applies just as much to images as videos. When in doubt, err on the side of caution, and don’t assume you can use images or videos even if they’re easy to pull from the internet. Share content with proper attribution or consider subscriptions to stock photo and video services.
Do: Respond to Comments
Whether you’re a restauranteur or retailer, your customers will have plenty to say about you on your social pages. While it’s not always possible to have a team of employees monitoring and responding to comments 24/7, it’s good business to respond quickly. Hopefully, most of what you see reflects well on you, and can be met with a simple “Thank you for your kind words! We hope you come see us again soon.” React positively when you can and try to stir up fun conversations with questions and polls.
Don’t: Argue with Your Followers
Unfortunately, the cost of engaging with your customers is opening yourself up to criticism by anyone with any sort of complaint, legitimate or otherwise. If you handle this properly with your followers, it will help earn you points. If you handle it badly, it can ruin your reputation. If someone posts about how terrible their meal was at your restaurant, respond by telling them you value your customers and are sorry to hear they feel they had a bad experience. Tell them to send you a direct message so you can try to help. This makes the conversation less public, and can often be rectified by a discount, free appetizer or round of drinks. If your followers see this, they will take your side. If they see you quibbling with your customers, they will think less of you.
Customers choose to follow brands on social media to learn about new products and specials pricing. In between sales and promotions, use these tips to keep them engaged with relevant content. They’ll stay loyal and interested and may bring a few friends into the fold for you!